Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Watchman, what of that rebellion?

There was, as we recall, a rebellion against the ECHR in the matter of prisoners' vote. The House of Commons definitely voted against giving them that right and the ECHR threatened all manners of punishments. Where do we stand on it now?

As usual, it depends who is your source.

The Independent says that
the coalition is poised to introduce legislation to give prisoners the vote.
According to the Guardian, ministers are preparing to launch a draft bill to comply with a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
According to the same article, government sources say that nothing will be done until the end of November, that is after the somewhat contentious election of police commissioners, predicted to have the lowest turn-out in history.

The BBC puts the story differently:
Prime Minister David Cameron has said Britain will continue to defy a European Court ruling saying prisoners must be given the right to vote.
"No one should be under any doubt - prisoners are not getting the vote under this government," he told MPs.
But he offered a further Commons debate to "help put the legal position".
Is "no one should be under any doubt" the same as a cast-iron guarantee? Also, what is the point of another debate? To explain to MPs that they actually cannot decide such matters for the country, even though, for once they do have the country on their side?

Dominic Grieve, the Attorney-General "warned Britain's reputation would be damaged if it did not follow the European Court ruling" and has also said rather ominously that Britain was negotiating with the Court and that some "flexibility" was needed. Flexibility on whose part, one wonders.

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